Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Water supplies to be stabilized

FALLOW LANDovernment plans to better manage national water resources involve a subsidy program to encourage farmers to leave land untended in drought

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet yesterday announced measures to alleviate a shortage of industrial water, assuring the industry that they would not be hit by water shortages from 2031 onward.

The Cabinet is to improve reservoir capacity and water conservation efficiency while connecting the nation’s water supply systems to transport water to drought-affected areas and developing reserve supply systems, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said.

The measures are to create an additional 1.9 billion tonnes of water every year by 2031, which would ensure uninterrupted industrial water supply, Lai said.

They are part of measures to alleviate the nation’s five industrial shortages of land, power, water, workers and skilled labor.

“Solving the five industrial shortages is the fundamental means to develop the economy, which is a priority of the Cabinet,” Lai said.

As industrial water consumption is expected to grow, construction projects have been planned to boost supply capacity by dredging and expanding reservoirs and developing water recycling plants, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.

Water conservation projects are also under way to reduce pipeline leakage and irrigation use, while improving industrial wastewater recycling capacity.

About 16 percent of potable water is lost due to pipe leakage, and the government plans to reduce that to 10 percent by 2031. The deadline of leakage improvement is to be 2022 in southern Taiwan, where water consumption has increased rapidly.

The government is to improve the efficiency of aging irrigation systems and introduce a subsidy program to encourage farmers to plant dry crops or leave fields fallow during dry seasons, which could conserve about 800 million tonnes of water every year. The agricultural sector uses 12.6 billion tonnes of water per year, Kung said.

While there is an uneven distribution of water resources in the nation, local water supply systems are to be connected to ensure stable supply in different regions.

The completion of a supply system connecting New Taipei City’s Banciao (板橋) and Sinjhuang (新莊) districts’ Feitsui Reservoir supply system — which supplies Taipei — with Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties, would free the Shihmen Reservoir for use by Hsinchu County.

“The water supply north of Hsinchu will be stable following the completion of the two supply systems,” Lai said, adding that a similar connecting system would be built for Chiayi County’s Tsengwen Reservoir.

The government is also to establish nationwide reserve supply systems by tapping into subterranean rivers and underground water to reduce the risk of water shortage during dry seasons.

By 2031, all of northern, central and southern Taiwan is to have a stable industrial supply, with Taoyuan and Hsinchu having access to 2.07 million tonnes of water every day (with 1.94 million tonnes in demand daily); Miaoli, Taichung and Changhua counties receiving 2.54 million tonnes per day (with 2.22 million tonnes in demand daily); and Tainan and Kaohsiung receiving 3.41 million tonnes per day (with 3.33 million tonnes in demand daily), the Cabinet said.

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